The August numbers on state tax revenue again topped both last year and the forecast. The Department of Finance and Administration’s summary on the key figure, net in August:
August Net Available General Revenues total $387.8 million, $18.7 million or 5.1 percent above last year and $5.7 million or 1.5 percent above forecast.
August results were boosted by one-time Sales tax audit payments and better than expected Corporate Income tax collections. Weakness in Individual Income tax partially offset these increases. Additional reporting periods should determine whether this
weakness is part of a trend or a temporary payroll timing issue.
Among smaller revenue sources, tobacco and gaming results also exceeded forecast.
However, the key sales tax collection number looked very robust.
August Sales and Use Tax Collections: August collections total $194.5 million, an increase of $16.5 million or 9.3 percent from last year. Collections were also above monthly forecast levels by $7.5 million or 4.0 percent.
That figure is interesting against Little Rock woes, where sales tax collections are down against last year. All of that can’t be put down to migration of sales to the Internet. The cap on the municipal tax on big-ticket items like cars IS a factor. So is migration of retail business to suburban cities where shoppers no longer need to make a trek to Little Rock for chainstore shopping. Noted: The highway construction state sales tax increase of .5 percent took effect in July, which runs the gross increase up. But the performance of 4 percent over forecast, which took that into account, is significant.
UPDATE: Correction. That new highway tax revenue is counted as special revenue so it is not part of the rise in general sales tax collections.